Modernization is the transformation of a society from a traditional way of life to a modern one.
In the economy, modernization involves the systematic use of technology, and is characterized by the Industrial Revolution, with factories, railroads, banking and telegraphs. The economies of Western Europe and the United States modernized in the 19th century. The rest of the world followed much later.
In terms of society, modernization involves individualism (rather than clan orientation), rationality (rather than rote), and systematic organization (rather than whatever was handed down from the past). Complex cooperation with strangers is required for modernity. Meritocracy is adopted, with hiring and promotion due to performance (often on tests) rather than family connections.
Psychologically, a modern personality means a future orientation, rather than the past orientation typical of traditionalism.
In politics, the modernizing parties in American history were the Federalist Party of the 1790s under Alexander Hamilton, the Whig Party of the 1840s under Henry Clay, and the Republican Party after 1860, especially under Abraham Lincoln. During the Progressive Movement (1890s-1920s), all the main parties supported modernization, with Herbert Hoover the exemplar.
Postmodern reactions are rooted in modernity but are hostile too it. For example, the radical environmental movement denounces modernity for producing pollution.
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